The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Here’s your dose of young adult fiction for the day. Frankie Landau-Banks is a sophomore at an elite American boarding school where a mystery lurks, and it’s one that only boys are supposed to be involved in. Enter intrigue!

So of course Frankie needs to investigate. Puzzling out the pieces of a semi-secret old boys society, the Loyal Order of the Bassett Hounds, Frankie is determined to find out all she can about the group that forms the roots of future business deals as the boys graduate and attend top-tier universities, then go on to lucrative careers. Why should only boys get to do the social networking and bonding that mean their children too will be born with silver spoons in their mouths?

Cleverly written and light-hearted, E. Lockhart’s story was a runner up for the American Library Association’s Printz award in 2009, and was also a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award in the young people’s literature category.

More strangely, Frankie’s diary-style story made it into round one of The Morning News’ 2009 Tournament of Books, competing with the totally mismatched Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen. Judge Anthony Doerr writes, “Comparing these two novels is akin to comparing a 777 with a tangerine.” Despite Frankie’s fall to the thousand page behemoth by Matthiessen, I’d recommend Lockhart’s novel to anyone with a sense of humor and the desire to read about a bright girl who’s not afraid to get her hands dirty playing with the boys.

RATING 8 / 10